Pope Francis embarks on historic trip to the US
Pope Francis touched down at Andrews Air Force Base, home of the presidential air fleet near Washington, D.C. Tuesday afternoon for a six-day scheduled visit that will bring him to before Congress in Washington D.C., as well as New York City and Philadelphia.
President Barack Obama, first lady Michelle Obama and their daughters Sasha and Malia greeted the 78-year old, Argentine-born pontiff alongside Vice President Joe Biden and wife Jill (who are both Catholic), as he made his way down a receiving line on the tarmac and was welcomed by bishops and young schoolchildren.
Francis’ visit marks his first ever trip to the U.S. He arrived from Cuba, where he held a papal mass and was welcomed by thousands, including President Raul Castro and Fidel Castro, whom he had worked with to help normalize diplomatic relations between the Communist country and the United States.
The White House will host a welcoming ceremony for Francis Wednesday morning. The Pope’s visit will make history, as he will become the first pontiff to address a joint meeting of Congress. He is expected to speak on hot button issues including income inequality, climate change, extremism, immigration and the ongoing refugee crisis in Europe.
On Friday, he will speak at the United Nations’ General Assembly in New York City and celebrate mass at Madison Square Garden.
He will be in Philadelphia Saturday and Sunday for World Meeting of the Families, a conference that is said to be the largest gathering of Catholic families. He is also scheduled to visit inmates at the Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility before his departure to the Vatican.